Sitting in the hot Caribbean sun, Buddy, a Beauceron-Labrador mix, was close to death.
Covered in fleas and mites, and with cactus thorns stuck in his face and body, the brown-and-black dog would not have survived much longer on the side of the road on St. Barthelemy, a French West Indies island known as St. Barts. That’s where part-time Southampton resident Victoria von Schantz found him in August.
One month later, after several weeks of medical care and rehabilitation, the roughly 35-pound dog has been brought to the United States, and Ms. von Schantz is hoping to find a loving home for the animal she has since fallen in love with.
“Buddy is such a smart dog,” Ms. von Schantz said in a phone interview last week. “He is so willing to learn, and he is really great with other dogs, kids and people. I would love to see him get a good home. I am very invested in Buddy’s future.”
According to Ms. von Schantz, she found Buddy by chance while driving during the early part of a two-week visit to the island in August. She said Buddy looked terrible and was so weak that he did not even fight her when she lifted him and placed him in the back seat of her car. With the combination of air-conditioning and a soft place to rest his head, Buddy fell asleep instantly.
Immediately, she took the sick dog to a veterinary clinic on the island. There, she was told that several people had reported a dog fitting Buddy’s description to doctors, but that the vets had not been able to find him. Ms. von Schantz left Buddy, who was dehydrated and malnourished, in the care of the vet for several days, during which time he was nursed back to health and neutered.
While visiting Buddy in the hospital, Ms. von Schantz was told that he was a very friendly dog, indicating that he had most likely had a home at one point and had been abandoned. She also learned that Europeans often spend the colder winter months on the island doing construction jobs before returning to France for the summer. Often, seasonal workers adopt dogs and then, realizing that there are no animal shelters on St. Barts, abandon them when returning home.
That is why Ms. von Schantz elected to bring Buddy, who responds to commands in both English and French, back to New York with her.
“He is a very smart dog,” she said. “And a very handsome French working dog.”
Buddy is staying with Ms. von Schantz for the time being, but as she already has four dogs and four cats, she cannot take him in permanently. She said she would like to find a loving home for her new companion, and is asking anyone interested to call The Press at 287-1500, ext. 160, for her contact information.
“He is absolutely a wonderful and deserving, loving dog,” she said.